At an altitude of 2,130m
and about 95-km from Srinagar , Pahalgam is probably the
most popular hill resort in the Kashmir valley. Since it is
rather lower than Gulmarg the nighttime temperatures do not
drop so low and it has the further advantage of the
beautiful Lidder River running right through the town.
Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag
Rivers and surrounded by soaring, fir-covered mountains with
bare, snow-capped peaks rising behind them. The Aru flows
down from the Kolahoi glacier beyond Lidderwat while the
Sheshnag from glaciers along the great Himalayan.
At the confluence of the streams flowing from the river
Lidder and Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam was once a humble
shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it Kashmir's
premier resort, cool even during the height of summer. A
number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and
budgets, from luxurious to unpretentious trekkers' lodges,
including JKTDC's delightfully romantic, fully furnished
huts, partially concealed by giant pine trees.
There are many short walks available from Pahalgam and in
addition it is an excellent base for longer treks such as
those to the Kolahoi glacier or to the Amarnath cave.
Pahalgam can also be used as a starting point for treks out
of the region. Pahalgam is particularly famed for its many
shepherds and they're a common sight, driving their flocks
of sheep along the paths all around the town.
Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because
the resort is set between fairly hills, it is worth hiring a
pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent
Mamaleshwara is only a km or so downstream from Pahalgam,
and on the opposite side of the Lidder, is this small Shiva
temple with its square, stone tank. It is thought to date
from the reign of king Jayasima in the 12th century, even
This meadow, about 5-km from Pahalgam and 150m higher,
provides excellent views over the town and the Lidder
valley. Pine forests and the snowclad mountains surround the
grassy glen. One can hire ponies for this trek from near the
centre of town.
If one continues 11-km beyond Baisaran one reaches the
Tulian Lake at 3,353m, 1,200m higher up. It is covered in
ice for much of the year and surrounded by peaks, which rise
more than 300m above its shores. It also can be reached by
The little village of Aru is actually the first stage from
Pahalgam on the trek to Lidderwat and the Kolahoi glacier.
It makes an interesting day walk from Pahalgam, following
the Lidder river for Pahalgam, following the Lidder river
for 11-km upstream. The main track, which also can be taken
by car, is on the left bank of the river. There is also a
less used, and more difficult path, on the right bank. At
Aru one will often find the Gujars, living in their log huts
with their flocks of sheep and goats, en route to the higher
sheep and goats, en route to the higher pastures for the
Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari is an idyllic spot for a
picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been
the location of several movie scenes.
Chandanwari & Passage To The Amarnath Yatra
Situated 16-km from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is the starting
point of the Amarnath Yatra, which takes place every year in
the month of Sawan (Rain). The destination is the Amarnath
Cave, believed to the abode of Lord Shiva. Although the road
from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain, and
can be undertaken by car, from Chandanwari onwards the track
becomes much steeper, being accessible on foot or by pony.
Located 11-km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of
Sheshnag, after which 13-km away is the last stop,
Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6-km away from there.
During the month of 'Sawan', an ice stalagmite forms a
natural Shivling (also spelt as Shivlinga), which waxes and
wanes with the phases of the moon.
The state government makes extensive arrangements every year
for the successful completion of the pilgrimage, registering
each one of the over one lakh pilgrims, pony owners and
Dandi Walas, providing camps en route, and ensuring safe,
comfortable and speedy progress of the Yatris.
Even if one's visit to Pahalgam is not during the period of
the Yatra, one can still take a pony ride up to Sheshnag
Lake, returning late evening.
Pahalgam is one of Kashmir's popular trout fishing beats.
Kashmir is famous for its trout although they tend to be
rather small. Additionally, fishing licences are hard to get
and rather expensive. A compulsion is to keep am guide and
one is also permitted to catch six fishes, which is the